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CHP investigates locally acquired SARS-CoV-2 virus cases with 1 315 cases tested positive by nucleic acid tests and 3 916 cases by RATs as well as 156 imported cases
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (September 23) announced the latest epidemic situation of COVID-19. As of 0.00am, September 23, the CHP was investigating 5 231 additional locally acquired cases that tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, comprising 1 315 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (569 confirmed cases, 607 asymptomatic cases and 139 cases with pending status) and 3 916 cases that tested positive by rapid antigen tests (RATs) in the past 24 hours.

     Separately, 156 additional imported cases were reported, including 142 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (10 confirmed cases, 78 asymptomatic cases and 54 cases with pending status) and 14 cases that tested positive by RATs.

     Hong Kong has recorded a total of 941 981 and 794 432 cases that have tested positive by nucleic acid tests and RATs respectively for the SARS-CoV-2 virus so far.

     The CHP is continuing with epidemiological investigations of the cases. Please refer to the "COVID-19 Thematic Website" (www.coronavirus.gov.hk) for more information.

     In view of the stabilising local epidemic situation, the CHP will adjust the risk communication strategy for this stage. From September 25, the press briefing on updates of COVID-19 cases will be suspended. The CHP will continue to report daily positive cases with press releases and regularly update information of the "COVID-19 Thematic Website", as well as release relevant information via social media platforms, etc. The CHP will continue to closely monitor local and overseas situations, and release information as and when appropriate according to the development and need of the local epidemic situation.

     Among the specimens received by the DH's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch during September 14 to 20 for verification testing of local cases, about 3.4 per cent and 84.2 per cent of them (seven-day moving average) are related to the sub-lineages BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5 (including suspected cases) of the Omicron mutant strain respectively.

     In addition, as of 0.00am, September 23, a total of 9 886 death cases (Note) that had tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus during the fifth wave (since December 31, 2021) were recorded, with 9 802 and 81 deaths reported from the Hospital Authority (HA) and public mortuaries respectively as well as three deaths reported from the Chinese University of Hong Kong Medical Centre. Hong Kong has so far recorded a total of 10 099 death cases that tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

     Furthermore, among the earlier cases by nucleic acid tests reported, there were cases (including pending cases) changed to confirmed, asymptomatic or re-positive cases. As at yesterday (September 22), the total number of confirmed cases was 410 477, while the figures for asymptomatic cases, re-positive cases and pending/unknown cases recorded since January 1 were 288 506, 31 and 241 510 respectively. 

     The spokesman for the CHP said that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe cases and deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They can provide effective protection to those vaccinated in preventing serious complications and even death after infection. People who have yet to receive vaccination, especially senior citizens, chronic patients, children, and other immunocompromised persons who face a higher chance of death after COVID-19 infection, should get vaccinated as early as possible for self-protection and to reduce the risk of falling seriously ill and death should they get infected.

     The CHP strongly appeals to the community to strictly comply with social distancing measures and refrain from participating in unnecessary or crowded activities or mass gatherings. This would lower the risk of infection and prevent the virus from spreading in the community. ​​The spokesman reminded members of the public that they can call various hotlines to make enquiries on COVID-19 (www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/index.html#hotline).

Note: Having checked with the confirmed COVID-19 case name list with the CHP, the HA noted that adjustments are needed for the number of death cases, after which there would be a net increase of 153 fatal cases reported by the HA. They were all fatal cases during the peak months from February to April this year.

Among the adjustment cases, some did not have positive records in the HA but were found to be positive cases after counter-checking with the CHP. Some others only had RAT results in the HA but did not have detailed personal particulars at the time of death. These cases should be included in the list of fatal cases. Whereas some other fatal cases had an earlier test positive date and did not fulfil the prevailing case definition and were deleted.
Ends/Friday, September 23, 2022
Issued at HKT 19:34
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